The Adverts, Earth Wind & Fire, Chick Corea & More: My Albums of the Week #26

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Archie Shepp and Mal Waldron
Left Alone Revisited
Enja, 2002

TRACKLIST (Favorite Tracks Underlined): 1 – Easy Living // 2 – Nice Work If You Can Get It // 3 – Everything Happens to Me // 4 – Left Alone // 5 – When You Lover Has Gone // 6 – I Only Have Eyes for You // 7 – Blues for 52nd Street // 8 – Porgy // 9 – Lady Sings the Blues // 10 – Left Alone (Spoken Lyrics)

Incredibly touching. Mal Waldron’s final tribute to Billie Holiday with some profoundly expressive saxophone work by avant-jazz trailblazer Archie Shepp. The album is titled after one of the songs Waldron co-wrote with Lady Day but never got to record before her passing. Here, it is one of the touching tracks in a program of other classics like you never heard them before.

 

Earth Wind & Fire
All ‘n All
Columbia, 1977

TRACKLIST (Favorite Tracks Underlined): 1 – Serpentine Fire // 2 – Fantasy // 3 – In the Marketplace (Interlude)/Jupiter // 4 – Love’s Holiday/Brazilian Rhyme (Interlude) // 5 – I’ll Write a Song for You // 6 – Magic Mind // 7 – Runnin’/Brazilian Rhyme (Interlude) // 8 – Be Ever Wonderful

Possibly the most acclaimed of Earth Wind & Fire’s albums and for good reason. There’s more than the hit single “Fantasy” to it. Not a bad song, from the funky opening “Serpentine Fire” to the ballad “I’ll Write a Song for You,” which is a wonderful showcase of Philip Bailey’s famed falsetto. Boy, this band could groove and you can arguably hear on this LP just how influential they were among other horn-driven ensembles of the time.

 

Chick Corea
Return to Forever
ECM, 1972

TRACKLIST (Favorite Tracks Underlined): 1 – Return to Forever // 2 – Crystal Silence // 3 – What Game Shall We Play Today // 4 – Sometime Ago – La Fiesta

The “official” debut of Chick Corea’s acclaimed Return to Forever project. It is a little different from the subsequent jazz fusion records of this acclaimed multi-lineup ensemble. Firstly, there is no guitar and more space for Chick to create ambient soundscapes with his electric piano. Shifting from well-defined melody lines to brooding moments, this is truly transportive music, the aura of which is well-represented in the cover artwork. Not to mention that “La Fiesta” is not only one of many Corea standards for a good reason but also among my favorite compositions of this much-missed artist.

 

The Adverts
Crossing the Red Sea With The Adverts
Bright, 1978

TRACKLIST (Favorite Tracks Underlined): 1 – One Chord Wonders // 2 – Bored Teenagers // 3 – New Church // 4 – On the Roof // 5 – Newboys // 6 – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes // 7 – Bombsite Boy // 8 – No Time to Be 21 // 9 – Safety in Numbers // 10 – New Day Dawns // 11 – Drowning Men // 12 – On Wheels // 13 – Great British Mistake

The Adverts are totally underrated. I don’t understand why. T.V. Smith is a total punk songwriting powerhouse. And like The Damned, there is real melody behind the sheer power and noise. This debut statement, in fact, overflows with ideas and creativity that few other first wave punk bands could match. No one chord wonders here, folks!

 

Don Gibson
Oh Lonesome Me
RCA Victor, 1958

TRACKLIST (Favorite Tracks Underlined): 1 – Bad Bad Day // 2 – Take Me As I Am or Let Me Go // 3 – I Can’t leave // 4 – I Can’t Stop Loving You // 5 – Blues in My Heart // 6 – Sweet Sweet Girl // 7 – Blue Blue Day // 8 – Heartbreak Avenue // 9 – We Could // 10 – Oh Lonesome Me // 11 – Too Soon to Know // 12 – If You Don’t Know It

Country and western music may have become a different kind of beast over the past few years but anyone who snobs the genre should think twice about it. This record is one of the finest showcases of that Nashville sound and Don Gibson, one of its most gifted songwriters. Parts of this LP are truly rocking and the title track is stellar. Chet Atkins is also part of this session. That’s a plus!

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